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British brand Silver Cross are much-loved for their stylish baby products. With a 140-year history, Silver Cross is particularly well-known for its practical yet trendy prams and pushchairs. The brand gets the Royal seal of approval with the prams having been used since the queen was a baby. However, Silver Cross also produce car seats, and the four-part collection comprising of the Dream, Motion, Balance and Discover is their latest offering. This unique collection of car seats has been created to provide parents with a safe solution for children until they’re ready to go without a car or booster-seat at 12-years-old (or 135cm tall).
Complying with government i-Size standards for children up to 12-months-old, the Dream is a rear-facing only seat. It is ISOFIX compatible, but you will need to purchase the separate Dream I-Size Base (£180). If you don’t have a car with ISOFIX fixing, you can fit the Dream car seat without the base by using the universal seat belt installation method instead.
Safety comes first and Silver Cross have created a very handy Car Safety Made Simple app, which links with your seat’s QR code to guide you through the installation process. The car seat also has a four-layer side impact protection system which keeps babies safe, plus a fantastic removable insert system that ensures your baby is always in a comfy position.
Retailing at £195 for the car seat alone, the Dream costs what many would expect to pay for an i-Size-compatible baby/toddler car seat. Compared to other car seats boasting similar features, such as the Bugaboo Turtle by Nuna (£219) or Britax Baby Safe i-Size (£329.99), it appears affordable. However, it does come against fierce competition in the likes of market leader Maxi-Cosi’s popular Pebble Plus seat (£190), and cheaper options are available with Silver Cross’ own Simplicity car seat (£150).
Sarah tested the Dream baby car seat with her 8-week-old baby girl, in the height of the summer.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Silver Cross Dream baby car seat is how snug and stylish it looks. The seat’s silver cushioning is made from super-soft bamboo fabric, which is really breathable and boasts thermo-regulating properties, in simple terms it means it will keep your baby dry on hot summer days.
The next big difference to other seats I tried with my firstborn daughter is that the Dream has a graduated series of inserts that can be changed as your child grows as opposed to offering just one newborn removable insert. With both of my babies there has been a point at which they’ve been too big for a newborn insert but too small to go without one. The Dream’s design means that I can first remove the newborn head support – there is a second supportive headrest behind it – then remove the side-body supports. This still leaves plenty of support around the back and head so your baby remains incredibly safe and supported.
How is it different from the Silver Cross Simplicity?
Silver Cross offers a cheaper infant seat option, the Simplicity, which retails at £150 for the seat and a further £120 for the Simplifix ISOFIX base. However, it’s important to note that this isn’t i-Size compatible. It does boast some similarities to the Dream – it’s suitable for birth until 13kg, ISOFIX and seatbelt-fitting compatible, and has a five-point harness.
It’s even slightly lighter than the Dream, at 4kg compared to the Dream’s 7kg. However, it’s wider, which could be a deal breaker if, like me, you sometimes have to wedge yourself between two child seats in the backseat of the car. It also doesn’t have the fantastic removable insert system, instead offering just one newborn insert called the ‘lumbar wedge’.
What age is the Silver Cross Dream suitable for?
The Dream car seat is suitable for children measuring between 40-85cm (i-Size seats are height-based). However, it’s unlikely you’ll know the length of a newborn. Typically this seat is perfect for babies to one-year-old toddlers, after which point you’ll need to purchase a new car seat.
How does it install into the car?
The installation of ISOFIX baby seats can be a bit of a faff, my husband was the only one who could install the base of our previous car seat. However, Silver Cross’ Car Safety Made Simple app makes installing the Dream fool-proof. You simply download the app, scan the QR code on the side of your seat, and it will instantly refer you to a five-step install video guide for your seat model.
You then choose whether to install with ISOFIX base or without. The thing I like most about the app is that it’s portable and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve forgotten how to fit the previous infant seat into a grandparent or friend’s car using the universal installation seatbelt system. There is zero chance of that happening with the Dream as you can simply refer back to the app and refresh your memory.
Does it feel securely installed, once in place?
Once installed, the car seat seems super-secure. We get quite a lot of movement in the back of our car due to it being relatively low to the ground, but the car seat stayed put no matter how bumpy the road was. Also, if you’re ever in doubt about whether you’ve fitted the seat correctly, there are five indicators; two on the seat and three on the ISOFIX base which turn green when its fixed correctly.
How is strapping the baby into the seat?
The Dream boasts a five-point harness that can be loosened by a button at the base of the seat and tightened by pulling the harness. The head rest height can be adjusted by opening up a compartment on the back of the seat and moving the paddle up or down. There are five positions, so plenty of options for a growing baby.
If I’m being honest, this is no different to any other car seat I’ve used, and, in fact, I found it a bit fiddly because the crotch buckle often got caught on the padding behind it as I strapped my daughter into the seat.
What are the main safety features of the Silver Cross Dream?
When used with the ISOFIX base, the Dream is i-Size-approved, which means that it meets the latest government safety guidelines for child seats. The main safety features based on i-Size regulations are as follows: it is a height-based seat, making it easier for parents to get the selection right; it has a high level of side protection in the event of a side impact, and it enables children to remain rear facing for longer. However, it’s important to note that the Dream is only suitable for up to 12 months or those weighing 13kg, and current i-Size regulations advises that children must remain rear-facing until 15 months of age.
What do you think of the weight of the car seat?
I really am a huge advocate of this car seat – my daughter seems to be so comfortable and content in it. However, my one gripe is that it is quite weighty. At an arm-achingly weight of 7kg, it weighs as much as 3kg more than other models. The Bugaboo Turtle, for example, weighs 4.2kg; the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Pro weights 4.55kg, and Silver Cross’ own Simplicity model weighs 4kg. I definitely noticed the heavier weight when carting my daughter from car to house, and I wouldn’t want to do a lot of walking carrying this seat.
Is it easy to clean?
Absolutely. The covers are machine washable, plus the sun canopy can be removed to make it easier to wipe away any spills (or spit-ups) that happen mid-journey.
What feature do you like most about the car seat?
For me, the winning feature is the removable insert system. My daughter’s safety and comfort are paramount, and I really don’t believe that there is anything safe about her being in a baby seat without inserts before she is ready. However, using an insert that is a little bit snug is not comfortable for her either. The removable insert system simply means that I don’t have to worry about this common concern.
What do you think of the design?
The design of the Dream is sleek and stylish. Its silver padding gives it a trendy edge, but the main focus has definitely been on safety and comfort rather than aesthetics – which is how it should be. I love that the bamboo padding makes my daughter look so snug and safe in the seat. The previous car seat we owned always seemed a bit too spacious, hard and uncomfortable.
Is it good value?
I wouldn’t say that it’s ‘good’ value but I think it’s fair value. Car seats don’t come cheap, and you’ll always pay a premium for an ISOFIX or i-Size model. At £195 for the Dream seat and £180 for base, I think it is well placed on the shelves in terms of cost.
Where can I buy it?
The Silver Cross Dream is available at John Lewis, Pramworld and Silver Cross
What’s in the box?
The car seat comes with all of the removable inserts, plus a removable sun canopy. There isn’t any assembling needed, but you can easily remove the inserts (which are attached by poppers) as and when you’re ready. You’ll need to purchase the Dream ISOFIX base separately.
What type of family is this car seat best for?
The Dream car seat is currently only compatible with Silver Cross travel systems (you can buy the adaptors separately), so I think it’s a great seat for first-time parents. For parents who already have a travel system that isn’t Silver Cross-made, it can be a bit of a pain not having the option of attaching it to wheels for a quick spot of shopping.
Would you recommend this car seat?
Yes, I absolutely would. I’ve tested it during the hot summer months and really rate how content my daughter has been in it. However, I think it’s worth considering what you already own and how compatible the seat will be with your other baby products.
If you’re torn between the Dream, the Simplicity or the new Motion, which would you choose?
The Dream definitely trumps the Simplicity, for me. It meets i-Size regulations, which the Simplicity does not, and has the uber-helpful removable insert system. That said, I think I’d be tempted to invest in the new Motion. I’ve not tried the Motion but it appears to offer all of the things the Dream does – i-Size features, removable inserts, suitable from birth – plus it has 360° rotation and is suitable up to four-years (or 18kg). You’ll be paying an initial premium for it, at £350, but it saves you having to buy another seat in 12-months-time.
This was my first experience using a Silver Cross product and I was truly impressed with it. The seat feels like good quality and I really trusted that my daughter was completely safe in it. Given the choice, I’d likely purchase the Motion because I know what a pain it can be to have to upgrade to a new seat and store the newborn seat. If you’re looking to purchase a travel system for the first time and might use the Dream again with a second child, it’s a great choice.