The post I wrote about having a baby and a Fiat 500 was my most popular ever post, and 18 months later its still getting lots of views, so it obviously isn’t just me trying to hold on to my little car after becoming a parent. Recently I’ve had a lot of comments and messages asking for the follow up post, what happens when your baby outgrows the infant carrier?!? Sorry for the delay, but here it is!
The Car Seat
Despite him not having quite outgrown the infant carrier, we moved Teddy to the next stage car seat just before his first birthday. A combination of him never really enjoying being in the car and the fact we managed to get a good deal on Black Friday gave us the motivation to move him sooner. Once again, finding the right seat took some research. It was very important to that Teddy remained rear facing for as long as possible, due to it being so much safer. Despite it being legal to forward face from much earlier, it is recommended that children rear-face up to 4 years of age. I could go on about this more, but the group Car Seat Advice UK has lots of information and is really helpful, so I’ll just leave their link here.
Knowing we wanted him to rear face for as long as possible narrowed down our search to the few seats that allow rear facing up to 25kg. The Facebook group above has a list of all of these seats if you’re interested. For us, it needed to be compatible with a Fiat 500 and also a BMW 3 series to allow us to use the seat in my husband’s car as well. This ruled out a few of the seats. In the end we decided on the Axkid Minikid. The Minikid is compatible with both cars, doesn’t need to brace on the seat in front, has a self adjusting head rest and also has the most recline positions of all of the seats we considered, which is a useful feature as both of our cars have quite sloped seats and this allows us to counteract this. You can also buy an extra set of tethers so you can leave some set up in both cars to make switching the seat over much quicker.
Obviously once you move on from the infant carrier, you can no longer lift the car seat out with your child in it so I was facing the prospect of having to climb into the back with Teddy each time I wanted to put him in the car. Luckily, the experts from the Car Seat Advice group told me that it is just as safe to have a rear facing car seat on the front passenger seat, as long as the passenger air bag is disabled. (Of course only if the seat is compatible with your car for use in the font, please triple check your exact make and model and ensure the air bag can be disabled!). So that’s what we did. Its so easy to get him in and out of the seat and he’s much happier in the car then he ever was before. I think this is a combination of him getting older and also being up front where he can see me. He also has a great view out of the window now. We were so pleased with the seat that we ended up buying another one for Tom’s car to save us having to switch it over up to 3 times a week, although its so easy to do that if you weren’t changing it quite so often you could definitely just get away with one.
Depending on your seat positioning, the car seat might make it difficult for you to see your passenger wing mirror, but this can be overcome with a wing mirror extender, like you’d use if you were towing a caravan for example.
My last post also mentioned the pram we had purchased to fit into the Fiat 500 boot, and our Bugaboo Bee is still going strong. Due to the Bee being so light weight and small folding, we haven’t felt the need to move on to a smaller stroller-type buggy, so I can’t give a specific recommendation, but its sure lots of the compact ones would fit easily into the boot. We did get a cheap second hand buggy to leave at my parents’ house and found that an umbrella fold stroller takes up just as much of the boot room as the Bee!
Teddy being in the front means we don’t use a car seat mirror anymore, and I just place a normal blanket over his knees if its cold so he isn’t wearing his coat in the car seat.
So that’s it, you can keep your Fiat 500 once your baby becomes a toddler!
Sorry this post took me so long to get around to writing, I hope it has been useful.