This is a paid advertorial with Tesco.
Car seat shopping. It’s not exciting or glamorous. No child ever begged for a new high back booster seat. But it might be one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make. And when you find a seat that you trust, that the child finds comfortable, it’s a keeper. But time flies when you’re having fun, and they’re soon ready for the next size up. That’s where a universal car seat comes in.
Choosing a high back booster seat
Children tend to be ready to go into a booster seat at the age of around 9 months. They need to weigh at least 9kg and at this age, they fall into group 1. In order for a car seat to be safe, they need to be restrained in a five point harness. They can stay in this until they weigh up to 18kg.
When a child gets to 15kg, they can safely move into a group 2 car seat. These seats use the car’s seatbelt to secure the child, rather than a harness. They remain in a high-backed seat, with side impact protection for both the head and body. They can remain in this seat until they weigh up to 25kg.
Group 3 is the final car seat that a child will need before moving into the adult seatbelt aged around 12 years old. The group 3 seat is backless and a child can safely use it from a weight of 22kg.
Three groups, three seats to buy. And you don’t want to buy a cheap one and risk your child’s safety, so each time they grow, there is an additional expense. And that’s where universal car seats come in. A seat you can purchase when your child is 9 months old and moving into a group 1 seat. Then as they grow, the harness can be removed when they hit group 2. Finally, the back comes off for group 3. One car seat, one financial outlay. The same level of protection and peace of mind.
The Little Tikes Circuit Group 1-2-3 Universal Car Seat 9-36kg
The girls have been reviewing the Little Tikes Circuit Group 1-2-3 Universal Car Seat and I have to admit, I wish I’d bought one years ago.
We’re happily at the stage now where both girls are in a Group 2 seat. But we could have bought this when they were 9 months old and used it right up until the aged of 12. We had a go with Lia in the Group 1 harness, because technically she could still use that as she is within the weight limit.
She found the harness comfortable and I found it easy to adjust and do up. And it was just as straightforward to remove. Within a few minutes, I had converted the seat into a Group 2, high back booster seat. It has comfortable padding, which crucially is removable so I can wash it when they spill things on it.
Speaking of spillages, there’s a cup holder too. I suppose I should be grateful for this because they put their drinks in there rather than distributing them liberally around the car. But you wouldn’t believe the arguments it causes. Both children want to sit in this one because our other car seat doesn’t have a cup holder. Such a small touch, but it means everything to a four and five year old.
Moving into a Group 3 seat
It seems like a long way off at the moment, but I know I’ll blink and the girls will need Group 3 car seats. So, I tested out the Little Tikes Circuit Group 1-2-3 Universal Car seat to see how easy it was to convert to a Group 3.
I laid the seat down flat and it easily came apart, so I could remove the back. I did find it a little more difficult to reattach. The hinges fit very snuggly into each other, so I had to put quite a lot of effort into clipping them back together. But once this was done, we were straight back to a group 2.
It’s quick to place the seat in the car and both the seat and the child are held in place by the seatbelt. Instructions on the box are clear and Libby can easily fasten the belt herself and get it in the right place. I appreciate the peace of mind that comes with knowing they’re safe for as long as they need to use a car seat.