My 5.5-year-old twins have outgrown their Cosco Scenera NEXT, what are my next options?
Angelika got in touch with us because her twin boys have outgrown their Cosco Scenera NEXT, and she was wondering which restraints should the boys graduate to. Read as Elise advises Angelika on her restraint options and personalises a plan for her twins (full details of each child’s metrics are at the end of the post).
Angelika is on the lookout for a forward-facing car seat for her boys. She relies mainly on her BMW or her relative’s 8-seater Toyota—the latter without a tether anchor or ISOfix—to get around in Singapore. Angelika finds the Cosco lightweight, long-lasting, portable and easy to use, and thus is searching for something similar, as she occasionally uses taxis/Grab and often travels to Indonesia and New Zealand. More importantly, she prefers a car seat that can be used without a tether anchor or ISOfix. The boys also have their own RideSafer travel vests, but Angelika is a little hesitant in keeping them in the vests as she's unsure if they are of the same caliber as a car seat or booster seat.
If you're in the same boat, check out Elise’s advice to Angelika, and see what she ended up doing. Not in for a read? Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered—listen to the podcast above! xx
Hi Angelika! Thank you for contacting us and for filling up the checklist, that’s going to help me give you more advice. You’re right, both boys are out of their Cosco (what a sad day!). After reviewing your lifestyle needs, I’ve got three suggested options for you: 1) get the Evenflo Maestro Sport for the daily commute, keep RideSafer vest for travels, 2) keep them in their RideSafer vests, or 3) purchase the Hifold for both travel and everyday use.
Now, let’s look at the Evenflo Maestro Sport in detail. It’s a US-certified car seat and it will keep the boys harnessed forward-facing until about 22kg. You can get it from Amazon over here, and it’s pretty good value as Amazon offers low prices and free shipping. This car seat, however, doesn’t tick all the right boxes for your lifestyle needs as it requires a top tether anchor. I understand that you’d like a car seat that you can travel with and hence I suggest you keep the RideSafer vest for travelling —the RideSafer vest is a safe option for travelling (and in terms of a permanent car seat too), and it complements the Evenflo Maestro Sport really well.
Approved in the US, so it's legal in most of Asia and New Zealand, the Evenflo is a low profile seat, which might allow you to fit three passengers across the back if you need to (depending on the car). I own a tiny little Honda Jazz and I can fit three car seats across the back of my car because the sides of my seats are flat, allowing me to position my car seats quite far out. I’m not too sure if we could do that in your car because some of the luxury cars - BMWs and Mercedes in particular - have really sculpted seats, which will not allow us to put the car seat as far out as we could normally. However, I have a demo of the Evenflo in the office, so it’d be great if you can pop in and try it out first! The Evenflo features a comfortable seat (large enough for big kids), and is pretty lightweight, at about five kilos. Not only that, it’s designed for longevity of use (good value!)—it converts to a highback booster after the boys have reached the limit of the forward-facing harness.
Next, you can opt to allow both boys to use the RideSafer vest ordinarily like a harnessed top tether car seat, just like the Evenflo. The Evenflo, which performs really well in standard and non-standard consumer testing, would technically provide more side impact protection than the RideSafer vest. However, the RideSafer vest is still an incredible piece of engineering, and they perform exceptionally well when compared to regular backless booster seats. I’d be very comfortable putting my 5yo in the RideSafer vest as an everyday car seat.
Alternatively, you can purchase the hifold, which is a foldable highback booster and use it anywhere and everywhere you want to, and keep the RideSafer vest as a second option if you prefer a lighter child restraint for travel—the hifold weighs four and a half kilos while the vest weighs about 600g. The hifold looks like a shell of a car seat, sans harness, and thus the seatbelt comes across the front of the child. It provides a more comfortable option for your kids if they will be sleeping in the car; the hifold will allow them to sleep inside the shell, as their heads are propped up against the hifold, instead of them potentially slumping over (when asleep) in the RideSafer vest. The hifold also features integrated Side-Impact-Protection (SIP), while the RideSafer vest optimises the protective features of the vehicle but does not necessarily have its own integrated SIP.
Another plus point for hifold is its dual/global certification; it is a new breed of car restraint that has all the certification labels and the like for both Europe and the US all on a single booster seat, which allows you to travel with it to more countries than any other child restraint in the world! I noticed that you’re only looking at New Zealand and Indonesia, so it’s not a huge benefit for you because both countries accept both US and European car seats. However, if you’re thinking you might want to travel to the US, Europe or Japan or countries where they only accept European car seats, then that might be why the hifold could be a goer for you. In terms of highback booster abilities, the hifold is fantastic because it's so incredibly adjustable! It’s got almost 250 different combinations of setting—it’s not as complicated as it sounds, trust me—which allows you to adjust the booster seat to be the perfect size for your boys now and in future. In other words, the hifold will grow with them until they no longer need to use it, and that will be approximately after they finish primary school. The hifold is so highly adjustable that not only is it comfortable, but it allows you to get a really good seat belt fit for the entire period that they will be in this seat! (Read more about hifold here.)
Have a look at the three options that I’ve proposed, come back with what you like/dislike about these options and I can help you fine-tune your selection process down a little bit further. Feel free to holler at me if you’ve got any more questions and I will get back to you. Have a good one, bye! xx Elise
After reviewing Elise's suggestions, Angelika has decided to keep the boys in their RideSafer vests in the meantime and she finds that the vests are very practical!
Her reply: "We are using the RideSafer vests in the meantime and they are very practical. I think we probably will end up choosing them but I promise we will take a closer look at those you recommended and get back to you. Thanks for following up!"
- Age: 5.5 years old
- Weight: 18.6kg
- Height: 113cm
- Seated height: 61cm
- Seated shoulder height: 53cm
- Torso length: 31cm
- Age: 5.5 years old
- Weight: 16.4kg
- Height: 108cm
- Seated height: 60cm
- Seated shoulder height: 51cm
- Torso length: 30cm
Below is a guide to the above measurements: