Maxi Cosi 2 Way Pearl Review – With a 1 and 3.5 Year Old
I have written a couple of times about the introduction of the new car seat standard – i-Size and keeping your child rear-facing for as long as possible. Firstly, I couldn’t decide what to do for my daughter, I already had a very good forward facing car seat to move her up to from her brother – should I use it or should I buy her a new rear-facing i-Size seat (The Second Child Rear Facing Car Seat Dilemma)? Then, last week, I shared with you some of the research I have done on why rear facing was safer and my decision to get my daughter a new car seat as a consequence of this research (I-Size, New Car Seat Laws & Why Rear-Facing is Safer). The safety information is pretty compelling.
I have been very lucky in that Maxi-Cosi have sent me a 2 Way Pearl to review. As I have a one year old daughter and a 3.5 year old son who are both within the height range for this seat, I have reviewed it using both of my children, to give you an idea of how your child can will grow with this car seat
The Car Seat
The car seat is comprised of two parts. A 2 way family fix base (priced at £175), which is IsoFix and the car seat itself (priced at £200) which clicks onto the base for easy installation. The base can also be used with the newborn Pebble car seat – so can be used for two car seats and therefore last from newborn to approximately 4 years old.
2 Way Family Fix Base
2 Way Pearl Car Seat
A couple of things to note, this car seat does not fit in all cars – check the car fitting list on the Maxi-Cosi website before you buy it. Secondly it will only work with a car with IsoFix, if your car does not have IsoFix you will need to look into an alternative. For reference, I have a Honda CRV, 08 plate, which has been used in these pictures.
I cannot stress just how easy this was to install, simply click the IsoFix fitting into the rings in the car, push it in so it was flush to the seat. The base also has a foot which you need to make sure is straight. The whole base has a three light safety system which tells you if the car seat has been installed properly. A light for the IsoFix fittings, a light for the foot and a light for when the seat is clicked into the base. If all three lights are green, then you’re good to go. If you look at my picture below, the leg isn’t actually straight (rectified in later pictures!), and I’m not so sure if we’d have picked this up at first if it wasn’t for the clever light safety system. A small thing, but we did have to move the passenger seat forward very slightly to allow for the bigger seat.
This car seat is of course called 2 way for a reason and you can turn it around to forward facing at any stage. All you have to do is unlock it from the base, turn it around and click it back in again. Although it is recommended you keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible.
Fitting the Family Fix into the Car with IsoFix
Family Fix base Installed in the Car
Light Safety System
2 Way Pearl Fitted into the Car with no Child
2 Way Pearl With My One Year Old Daughter
So, first we first tried my two year old daughter in the car seat, as the seat in of course intended for her. I have put in some comparison photos of her in her newborn Pebble car seat, which she hasn’t quite outgrown yet so you can see the difference.
Aria in her Newborn Car Seat
Close Up of Aria in her Newborn Car Seat
Better Close Up of Aria in her Newborn Car Seat (the other one was so cute I couldn’t resist!)
So that will give you a perspective of how she fits into her newborn seat as a comparison. Now here she is in the 2 Way Pearl.
Aria in the Maxi-Cosi 2 Way Pearl Car Seat
Close Up of Aria in the Maxi-Cosi 2 Way Pearl Car Seat
I think the biggest thing I have immediately noticed with this car seat, and we have been using it for a couple of weeks now, is how much more spacious it is. The newborn car seats have the bar/handle that comes across and are much more cocooned in their design. Where as, I have found the Pearl so much more spacious and easier to my daughter in and out of the car. Overall she seems more comfortable in it than she was in her newborn seat and not fazed that she is still rear-facing at all. Because the car seat is more open and spacious she can see more around her too, which she likes. One thing to watch – as the seat is slightly higher be careful with your little one’s head putting them into the seat as erm, you might bump it a couple of times until you adjust (bad Mum).
2 Way Pearl With My 3.5 Year Old Son
One of the biggest things I was personally skeptical about when it came to rear-facing was how would it work for older children. The 2 Way Pearl is suitable for children up to approximately 4 years or 105cm tall (remember the new i-Size seats are based on height and not weight anymore). My son is about 100cm tall, so he is still suitable for this car seat. He was in the original (forward facing) Maxi-Cosi Pearl car seat, but as he was very close to the weight limit (which is 18kg), I moved him up to the Rodi-Fix child car seat a couple of months ago.
Don’t forget that this car seat is 2 way – most probably at my son’s age I would have turned him around to forward face and give him a bit more space. But, for the purposes of this review I wanted to show how it would work with him rear-facing. Especially as a lot of Scandinavian countries keep their children rear-facing until 4/5 years old.
Ok, so firstly I wondered how easily he would be able to climb into the seat rear-facing. At his age there is just no way I could lift him in and out day in day out. He had no problem at all and thought it was a bit of a game, although I am not sure I would like him to do it with muddy feet!
Logan Climbing into the Car Seat – Part 1
Logan Climbing into the Car Seat – Part 2
Logan Climbing into the Car Seat – Part 3
So how did he fit? Here are the pictures of him in the car seat. As you can see I have had to adjust the head-rest up for his height. But there is actually still room to grow. Unless, he has a big growth spurt (which is always a possibility), I am pretty sure he could fit into it until he is 4 years old.
One of the things he did struggle with was where to put his feet. We tried hanging over the sides, but he said that he preferred them like this, in front of him. So you probably would have to say good-bye to clean seats, but what price safety? I’ll be honest and say he did complain and said he wasn’t comfortable and preferred his current seat. He did in fairness look quite scrunched up. But I also wonder if he didn’t know any different whether it would be such an issue?
So as a final comparison here is my son in his Maxi-Cosi Rodifix child car seat.
I think he quite obviously looks a lot more comfortable in it, that is probably because he is on the cusp of pretty much outgrowing a toddler seat. But, he could still fit into a rear-facing seat for safety purposes should I choose to do so.
I am a fan of Maxi-Cosi car seats already as you can tell from review, the other car seats I talk about, and we own or have owned, have all been Maxi-Cosi. But I did have reservations about extended rear-facing and was curious as to how it would work.
Most importantly, this is obviously a really good quality piece of safety equipment. It is not the cheapest on the market and you can easily tell why. It is so easy to install and I really love the safety light system for ease of mind.
For extended rear-facing I can see this definitely working for younger toddlers with ease. I want to keep my daughter rear-facing for as long as possible, so I am hoping we will make it rear-facing until she is 3 in this seat. It will be interesting to see how she gets on with it, not knowing any different and whether comfort will be an issue. I hope not, but I can also see that I will probably have to turn her to forward facing at some point. Which is another feature about this car seat I really like – the ability to do both. It’s a big investment, to have to buy a different seat when your child hits 2 or 3 because they were no longer comfortable rear-facing would be very expensive indeed.
Would I recommend this car seat? Most definitely. Both Aria and I are huge fans and it’s great to see her travelling about more comfortably in her new seat.
*Disclaimer: Maxi-Cosi kindly sent me this car seat in exchange for an honest review.*