My 3.5-year-old is growing out of his Cosco Scenera NEXT, what seats are next?
Time files and we’re already on our sixth installment of our Car Seat Chronicles series (whoop whoop!). We really enjoy writing this series, so keep your enquiries coming in! Without further ado, let’s get started!
For this week’s Car Seat Chronicles, Elise discusses Ruth’s restraint options and personalises a progression plan for George, three and a half years old (full details of child’s metrics are at the end of the post).
At three and a half years old and fifteen kilos, Ruth feels that George is about to outgrow his Cosco Scenera NEXT seat, which his little brother will move into once he graduates from his infant capsule. Ruth relies on her Honda Vezel to ferry her family around, though she also gets around in Singapore by taxis and/or GrabCar. She is looking for a rear-facing car seat for George, that is approved and legal in Australia and Europe, including UK.
If you, like Ruth, are looking to transit your little one to a portable, Australian/European-approved next stage car seat, scroll away! Otherwise, you may give the podcast above a listen. xx
Hi Ruth, this is Elise from Taxi Baby Co. Thank you very much for sending me all the information, that was really helpful, let’s see if I can help you out with George! At three and a half, fifteen kilos and a seated height of 53 centimetres, I hypothesise that he might actually have a tiny bit of time left in his Cosco Scenera NEXT! I could be wrong, so I won’t give a definitive on that, but could you please send through a picture of George in his car seat so I can let you know approximately how much longer you can keep him secured in his Cosco, from a safety perspective. It might be he’s outgrowing the ease of buckling the harness strap before he actually reaches the height and weight limit of his car seat, so you can head over to this video for some tips and tricks to buckle up bigger kids in the Cosco. George’s brother, at ten kilos and fourteen months, also probably has got a bit of time left in his infant capsule. If you send a photo of him, I can check too. I reckon you’re going to get at most six months out of your car seats for both kids, and I suggest you keep them in their current car seats for a tad longer, because the next stage is either less convenient or less safe.
I understand that you’re looking to use the car seat both in taxis and your Honda Vezel, so to your earlier question, while the Urban Kanga would be taxi-friendly, once he has fully outgrown his Cosco, he won’t fit in the Urban Kanga car seat either, so it's probably not an economical option for you. I noticed he’s got a seated shoulder height of 31cm, and the maximum limit on the Kanga is 36cm. He will have a little growing room in it, but it maxes out at 18 kilos, so you might get about six or 12 months out of the Kanga and thus I don’t think that’s a huge value proposition for you. Unfortunately, there are no more taxi-friendly car seats that will fit George beyond 18 kilos. The safest option then becomes the RideSafer vest, a belt positioning device—it offers a lot more protection than a usual backless booster seat does! It’s got a great energy management system; it absorbs a lot of the crash forces away from the child’s body in the event of an impact. It performs very well in both standard and non-standard crash testing as well. The RideSafer, however, is currently only US-approved, but they’re working on the European certifications at the moment (delayed of course due to COVID-19). A little thing to note is that most countries around the world exempt taxis from car seat requirements, and what that means is it may actually be legal in a lot of Europe to use a vest in the taxi.
Since you'd like to keep George rear facing, I’d recommend that you look into getting a RideSafer vest for taxis, and a high-weight extended rear-facing car seat as a permanent restraint for your car. I’d suggest the following options (all Swedish, as they rear face longer than anyone else): Britax Two Way Elite (now discontinued, sadly), Axkid Minikid, or the Axkid Move. If you don’t want to go down the Swedish car seat route, then you’re looking at a forward-facing car seat. I like the following forward-facing seats: the Britax Advansafix II (or the new i-Size model), and the Evenflo Maestro Sport. Alternatively, if you’re going back to Australia on a regular basis, you may consider the InfaSecure Rally II or the Britax Safe-n-Sound Maxi Rider. I’m sure this will be a little bit of an information overload, but don’t worry I’m going to break it down for you!
Since safety is your number one priority, then a rear-facing car seat could be a goer for you—rear-facing car seats are five times safer than forward-facing car seats! There aren’t a lot of rear-facing car seats on the market that can take children past 18 kilos, it’s mostly the Swedish seats that can do this. We shall now explore the two Swedish car seat options available for you.
Option #1: Britax Two Way Elite (rear-facing)
Britax has a full range of Swedish seats that we can special order for you, but I’d go for the Britax Two Way Elite, it is without a doubt my favourite! I like to call it a technician's car seat, like the kind of tap that a plumber would install in his own bathroom—it’s very much a no frills car seat, without any of the luxury features built into it. Unfortunately, it has sporadic manufacturing runs now and I think we’ve only got one in stock at the moment. You can come in to have a look at it, we’ve got a demo that we can try out for you first!
Option #2: Axkid Mini (rear-facing)
We also have a different brand call the Axkid, and we’ve got two car seats from this brand. We’ve got the Minikid, which is a luxury version and it’s really coo! Similarly, you can drop by our place to try it out to see if it fits George, your car and whether you like it.
This concludes our two Swedish car seats that we have! There are other Swedish car seats that will keep him rear-facing, you can have a look online, and we can special order them for you if you’d like us to. If you don’t want to go down the Swedish car seat route, then you’re looking to graduate George to a forward-facing car seat.
Option #4: Britax Advansafix II (forward-facing)
Funnily enough, one of my favourite forward-facing car seat at the moment is another Britax car seat that has also been discontinued. I was speaking with Britax Singapore yesterday, and they’ve one of the Britax Advansafix II left as well—gosh this makes it sound like I’m really trying to hard-sell you by telling you there’s only one left of everything, but I promise I'm not! The Advansafix will keep George harnessed forward-facing until 25 kilos, and then you can turn it into a booster seat! For some strange reason, the current Advansafix model, that is the Advansafix IV only goes up to 18 kilos, so do take note that only the Advansafix II would work for your case. (Side note: The Britax Advansafix i-Size will be available soon and that also has extended harnessing)
Option #5: Evenflo Maestro Sport (forward-facing)
Your next option is a US-certified car seat called the Evenflo Maestro Sport. They’re good value car seats to start with, and amazingly, Amazon offers free shipping to Singapore from the States (edit: this has been suspended for the time being). It’s really affordable compared to the other options I’m suggesting. Do note that this car seat is not legal to use in the UK.
However, the above-mentioned car seats are not Australian-approved. On the other hand, there’re no portable car seats that are Australian-approved, so nothing that you take in a taxi in Singapore is legally approved as an Australian-certified car seat in Australia. If you fly back Australia very regularly, I can recommend a few car seats there.
Option #6 & 7: InfaSecure Rally II/Britax Safe-n-Sound Maxi Rider (forward-facing)
I’m afraid that George will not fit any Australian rear-facing car seat at all, at this stage of his growth. I like InfaSecure, it is a really good Australian family-owned car seat manufacturer that is only available in Australia. InfaSecure does an exclusive line for Big W, an Australian version of Walmart, and that is the InfaSecure Rally II. The seats are of great quality in terms of safety, just that they might have a less expensive kind of fabric, for example. The Rally II is a really good value forward-facing Australian car seat that you can get if you’re going to stay in Australia regularly. Alternatively, if you want a high-end Australian car seat, you can consider the Britax Safe-n-Sound Maxi Rider.
If none of these Australian car seats fit the bill, you might be in a position where you need to rent a seat when you head to Australia, if you’re looking for legal options. I like Hireforbaby, they’re a franchise that rents out a lot of baby gear. Speaking from experience, almost all of the franchise owners are certified car seat technicians like we are, so not only will they rent a seat that’s kept in good nick, they will also install it properly for you! How good is that!
Alright, that’s all for now, take your time to have a good look at the seats that I’ve mentioned! If you’ve got anymore questions after that, please let me know and tell me what you like/dislike about them—just go with your gut feelings. Following which we can work to refine your options even further. I’ll chat with you soon, have a good afternoon! Bye! xx Elise
- Age: 3.5 years old
- Height: 90cm
- Weight: 15kg
- Seated height: 53.5cm
- Seated shoulder height: 31cm
- Torso length: 21cm
Below is a guide to the above measurements: