Just before I fell pregnant, we upgraded our tiny Renault Clio to a more family sized Ford C-Max, the 2010 version (the last of the older design.)
I was completely sold on the “Family car” aspect, I even overlooked the mpg which were not completely favourable on the automatic petrol model. It had 3 big seats in the back to accommodate (hopefully) at least 2 more car seats and a booster seat , a special mirror to look at your children while you were driving and check they weren’t hitting each other secretly and good sized cup holders in the front. Being married to an American, I have a bit of a thing about cup holders. It’s also an Automatic too (my request, particular helpful for the school run) and has a good sized boot space for our 2 dogs and a travel system.
Until I discovered two massive flaws with their car, rendering it pretty useless for the safety conscious parent.
The first, is that actually they don’t come with ISOFIX as standard (unless it was chosen by the new owner at purchase). Yes, you read that correctly, their 2010 model – A FAMILY CAR! – has just the the bars fitted. I think they get around it by saying something smart like “Isofix child seat preparation”, or that they are “isofix compliant” – but its not actually Ready To Go.
ISOFIX for those that do not know was first introduced by BRITAX in co-operation with VW that has become an international installation interface for standardised anchorage points between a child car seat and a vehicle. It minimises installation errors and optimises protection through a rigid connection to the car chassis.
So with your Ford C-Max it’s not ready to use the minute your wonderful (hopefully sleepy) bundle of joy arrives. No, you need to purchase some fittings and a template from the dealer and try and be all crafty and clever and fit it yourself, following instructions you find on the internet, like these: http://spinage.me.uk/23/retrofitting-isofix-for-a-ford-focus-c-max/
Not really ideal when you are heavily pregnant, or worried about getting it wrong and compromising your child(rens) safety.
Or if you aren’t that good with a Stanley Knife (as I am not), you can VERY begrudgingly pay Ford £80ish per seat to retrofit them (we had 2 back seats done as planned to have the car for a long time to come and were trying to think in advance). Then you can sit back, confidently that you have ISOFIX and your child’s safety is not compromised. Wahoo.
Until you THEN learn that the back passenger footwells have underfloor storage.
Really, who has THAT much crap that you need to store it under the mat in the footwell, what’s wrong with a couple of Tesco carrier bags?!
This means that ISOFIX seats (that always come with a support leg to resist rotational movement in a front crash) cannot be used as the floor is not strong enough to support it. So all that lovely money we spent getting ISOFIX fitted is pretty damn useless. *cries*
The new i-size regulation that passed in July 2013 (and which will run in parallel to the current regulation R44 for the next few years, until approx 2018) means that it will make will make reward facing travelling mandatory for children up to 15 months, it will require ISOFIX only seats and the introduction of a side impact test.
The advice now, is it that is best to keep your child rear facing as long as possible. “The British Medical Journal published a report on 11th June 2009 stating that rear facing seats are safer than forward facing seats for children under 4 yrs. Dr Elizabeth Watson, a GP, and Dr Michael Monteiro say several studies show this is safest. Parents and guardians should be advised to keep young children in rear facing seats as long as possible.” Did you know that it’s five times safer for a child to be rear facing? Scandinavian children are rear facing until they are 4–5 years old (25kg or 55lbs), which has resulted in a much lower number of children injured or dead in car accidents compared with other countries, as for instance the UK.
I have now discovered, since I discovered we have underfloor storage, that we were mis-sold a Maxi Cosi Pebble and Family Fix base back in 2013 and we were very nearly mis-sold a Brittax Dual Fit on Saturday, it was only because I had researched car seats to death that I knew that I was being spun a line, check out my next blog post for that!
Do your own research people and do not JUST trust independent retailers, after all as the in car safety centre say, a child’s car seat maybe the most important safety product you ever purchase for your child.