What are the European-certified, rear-facing toddler car seat options I have for everyday use and holidays in Europe + the UK?
In this week’s series, we look at Elise’s recommendation for Kirsten, who’s searching for lightweight car seats for her pair of twins for everyday use in Singapore and holidays in Europe, and the UK.
Kirsten relies on taxis/GrabCar and a friend’s sedan car—which doesn’t have ISOfix or tether anchor—to travel around in Singapore. She’s looking for an European-approved, lightweight and portable rear-facing car seats for her two kids. Other features that Kirsten look for in a car seat include compatibility with her current Phil&Teds Voyager Double stroller.
If you’re in a similar predicament, have a read! Otherwise, you may listen to the podcast embedded below. xx
Hey Kirsten, Elise from Taxi Baby Co. here! Thanks very much for reaching out and for filling out the form for us, it make it a lot easier for me to give you advice for your boys. Before we delve further into your restraint options, I’d like to know what car seat you’re using at the moment, and if you’re attaching it onto your Phil&Teds Voyager, so it’d be great if you can drop me a text for that.
Now that the boys are two and a half years old, thirteen to fourteen kilos, and with the seated height that they have, your options for taxi-friendly rear-facing car seat narrows down to the Cosco Scenera NEXT. The Cosco, priced at $239, is a rear-facing American car seat that should keep the boys rear-facing until eighteen kilos, which is approximately four years old at least, possibly longer. As the boys get bigger, you might find that the harness will get a little bit snug before they reach the height and weight limit of the car seat. Worry not, you’ll just have to change your technique when you buckle them up, as shown in the video here.
The Cosco is sort of compatible with your stroller with the Phil&Teds universal adaptor—hooray if you’re intending to convert your Voyager to a travel system! We’re a Phil&Teds retailer, and we’ve been working with Mountain Buggy (Phil&Teds-owned) for quite a while now, and both brands have an almost identical adaptor. We’ve been liaising with Mountain Buggy lately to get their strollers officially compatible with the Cosco car seat. Currently, the Mountain Buggy nano and the nano duo are the only buggies that are officially compatible with the Cosco, but Mountain Buggy have just started testing their universal car seat adaptor from Mountain Buggy and Phil&Teds with the Cosco on their various strollers, but they haven’t finished perfecting their testing process yet, so it’s currently not official but it fits and it’s workable! Here’s a video to show you what the Cosco looks like when it’s on a Mountain Buggy pram with the universal adaptor. This is known as a #strollerhack, because there are very few strollers in the market that would accept a toddler car seat—stroller adaptors are really made just for infant car seats—and parents get creative in ways to hack their toddler car seat onto their buggy, especially if they don’t have a car and rely on taxis. Have a look at our #strollerhack database to get your creative juices flowing!
So far, the Cosco seems to be ticking off all your boxes; it’s very easy and quick to install into a taxi, it takes about thirty seconds only! You can choose to install it into the taxi after the boys are buckled into it, or you can have them already buckled into the car seat on the pram, or on the sidewalk for example, and just lift the car seat together with the child in it, and buckle it in. The easiest way to position your car seats in a taxi is to—probably—have one of the boys in the centre seat and then the other twin beside him, and you can hop on the other side. Some of the older taxis in Singapore have lap-only belt in the middle seat, but the Cosco can be installed with a lap-only seatbelt equally as safely! Otherwise, you can sit in the middle and have the boys on either side. If your husband is not going with you, you can opt to put them both in the outboard positions and then sit in the front seat.
There is, however, one downside of the Cosco for your personal situation; the Cosco is an American-certified child restraint and therefore it’s not legally recognised as a child restraint in Europe or the UK. We’ve had customers look into the exact risk of using them in the UK before. One of our customers was in the insurance industry and her colleagues and associates back in the UK have explained that her insurance position would not be affected even if you were using a US car seat during the accident. That’s the information she has provided us with a while ago and recently we’ve received an email from another customer stating that her sister, who’s based in the UK, clarified that tourists are allowed to use their car seat in the UK so long as the car seat is certified in their home country. I’m not aware of this, so we’ll follow up to ask if she could provide us with her source of information, say a website or something, so that we can double-check it. (Side note: both these points remain hearsay and we haven't been able to verify them)
The long and short of it is if you take an uncertified or a car seat that is not recognised in their local standards either in Australia or the US, we know for a fact that there are fines and they might void your insurance, or there are other legal problems that you can get into. On the other hand, we’ve never been able to identify if there’s actually a penalty associated with taking an American car seat to the UK or Europe, and we don’t know if they’ll actually do anything about that.
Since there are no rear-facing options that meet all of your requirements, I reckon you can think about how regularly you’ll be taking the car seat to the UK, and about the importance of having an option that is both suitable for taxis in Singapore and legal in the UK, considering that the Cosco fits all of your needs in Singapore. If you’re going back to the UK very regularly, and always to the same place—perhaps you’ve got family there—I can recommend some good value, long-lasting seats that you could keep in the UK and just use them when you head back (for example, Joie's range like the Bold, Tilt and Stages).
Alright, to sum up, my suggestion would be to use two Cosco Scenera NEXT for the boys, and you can convert your Phil&Teds Voyager into a travel system with the universal car seat adaptor. Please have a look through the options I’ve mentioned online, let me know what you like and don’t like about them! It will help fine-tune my recommendations and help you narrow your options a little bit more. I hope you’re having a good day, I’ll talk to you later. Bye! xx Elise
The boys’ metrics
- Age: 2.5 years old
- Height: 92cm
- Weight: 13-14kg
- Seated height: 52cm
- Torso length: 23cm
Below is a guide to the above measurements: