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If you’re a parent who spends most of your life lugging heavy car seats between vehicles then The First Years 505 Folding Car/Booster Seat could be the answer to your problems. It’s an affordable, versatile and lightweight solution way to ensure your child is safely transported whether they’re with you, the childminder or grandparent.
The First Years has just launched the first folding child car seat in the Group 2 and 3 category (that’s 4 years to 12 years or 15kg to 36 kg) onto the UK market, the 505 Folding Car/Booster Seat. It’s completely different because when you aren’t using it, the seat conveniently and easily folds down to a neat, compact size. This makes it easy to store and transport The First Years 505 Folding Car/Booster Seat.
Like most mums I’m a bit safety obsessed so when Mia grew out of her baby car seat I invested in a very expensive, professionally fitted car seat that will last until she is around 5 years. It’s great but has one serious snag – I can’t or rather, daren’t, move it. I have no idea how it fits in my car so when the grandparents have kindly offered to take my beautiful daughter off my hands for a few hours they’re restricted to walking or playing in the house. The First Years 505 Folding Car/Booster Seat is the perfect solution, and it won’t clutter up my already bursting-at-the-seams house.
The First Years 505 Folding Car/Booster Seat complies with the latest EU standards and has EPS foam padding (that’s the same stuff they use in bike helmets) in its 6-position, easily adjustable headrest. Also, there’s no gap when you do change the headrest height, making sure heads and shoulders are always protected.
It has got narrow rails on the bottom so should fit into most cars and I found it incredibly easy to fit with clear guidance about where the seat belt had to go. And if your child is messy (aren’t they all?) then the ‘Easy Off’ cushion foam, triple-layer liner pad makes washing and cleaning a breeze.
What we love
I love how light The First Years 505 Folding Car/Booster Seat is. You can carry it with one finger on the handle at the back and it’s so easy to install – there’s even a handy slot on the back of the seat to keep the instructions in so when other people get hold of it they’ll know just what to do.
The fact The First Years 505 Folding Car/Booster Seat actually does fold up is a bonus – it can fit in the boot of my car or just tuck under the stairs. And the price is hard to quibble with at just £60.
The First Years 505 Folding Car/Booster Seat works for a wide range of ages – we tried it out on Mia, and at 3 she’s the youngest age it’s recommended for but she’s well within the height and weight guidance that is clearly given in the instruction book.
It has a couple of features that make life so much easier, such as the flip up armrests and the low rise of the seat (which meant Mia could easily get herself in and out). There’s also pullout snack- and cup-holders, saving you turning round every five minutes with a drink. The Misty Morning colourway in black, grey and blue looks good and the material appears hardwearing enough to withstand a few years roughing up.
What to watch out for
When I started reading the instruction book I was met with a warning that ideally this car seat should be fitted in the middle seat unless it only had a lap belt. My middle seat only has a lap belt so it was fitted to one side. It would be a very good idea for the manufacturer to explain why it’s best fitted in the middle and what impact this might have on safety.
We tried The First Years 505 Folding Car/Booster Seat out with Mia who is used to a car seat with padded straps and a 5-point harness, and she complained that the straps were ‘digging’ into her and it took her about five minutes to figure she could stretch the strap out and get her arms underneath. My concern with a particularly smart child would be that they could reach over and unbuckle the entire strap. It’s also easy to forget to strap the seat back down once your child is out of it and a large seat unbuckled in the back of the car could be a real safety hazard.
The First Years 505 Folding Car/Booster Seat is relatively well padded but for longer journeys doesn’t feel as soft as other car seats I’ve had. Also, it doesn’t have a recline feature for younger sleeping children.
Because of the way the seat is fitted you need to make sure your seat belts are in tiptop condition because the security of the seat depends on the seat belt tightening correctly. This is common with many booster seats.
Another niggle I had, again something it has in common with many similar car seats, is that you have to lean right over your child to buckle them in, which is tricky when you’re six months pregnant!
Who is The First Years 505 Folding Car/Booster Seat best for?
Families who regularly need to switch car seats between vehicles.
The First Years 505 Folding Car/Booster Seat is going to be ideal for those who have to move car seats between cars and need a lightweight, easy to install, affordable solution. It is great value for money and easy to use. It folds for easy storage and transport, and has handy features like washable covers, flip up arms and cupholders. However, it mightn’t feel quite as secure as some other more expensive, less moveable car seats, and your mini Houdini could figure out how to get out of the straps.
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|Brand||The First Years|
|Model||505 Folding Car/Booster Seat|
|Child age (approx)||4 years to 12 years|
|Height adjustible headrest||Yes|