So there’s been a lot of talking lately about seats to harness longer, taller children, and heavier children.
Parents are wanting children to be harnessed in a seat, rather than being in boosters – at least until they really have to. Booster seats still have their place.
So recently a new comer has entered the market here, in addition to the already available Frontier 90 (since December 2013). The Infa Evolve, also sold here as Genesis, is able to harness a child from approx. 6 months to 8 years. Now before I continue I MUST add a few technician comments here:
1. We do not recommend, or suggest, you placing your child into a forward facing child restraint at 6 months, even though this is the “accepted law” in Australia, and therefore legal to be placed and stated on the retail packaging and materials for these seats, we simply want to say, not to use it before 2 years of age. Full stop.
2. The Frontier and Evolve/Genesis are forward facing only child restraints, and cannot be used with infants. The Frontier even states, along with its minimum weight limit requirements, that the child must be at least 2 years of age to use (yay!).
3. The Genesis is the same shell as the Evolve “classique” sold at Baby Factory (we strongly recommend our North Shore families pop in to Takapuna branch to view and trial this seat, as we have heard only great things of this store and know first hand how hard the team work to get your seat in perfectly (this applies to the range they sell)). The difference is in the clothing – plain black. Nothing fancy. In fact you get a little bit extra fabric than on the “elite” models (Vogue) as they covered up the “holes” for the cup holders – it was obviously too expensive for these to be added, so take your time to stroke that extra valuable piece of fabric, it sure is special.
4. Infa Secure is an Australian brand. Britax (in this case the Frontier) is an American brand. The obvious difference between the two is that Australian seats use “height markers” at the shoulder to define when the child is able to begin using the seat (must past lowest marker) and when they need to stop using the seat (in line with the top most marker). The American seats use weight, good old pounds and kilos. In this case the seat is able to be used from 11.3 kg (and 2 years) to 40.8 kg in the harness and to 54.4 kg in booster mode.
Now back to business.
The Evolve is an exclusive to Baby Factory stores in New Zealand. They stock the “classique” model which comes in purple and blue, and the vogue in beige and camel brown. The classique looks a little washed out rather than fresh and vibrant. It is the same shell as the Genesis, currently sold via Farmers stores. The reason for the differing model names is largely to stop you from going between stores and asking for price matches as the are not considered “identical items”. The Genesis comes in a wide range of colours, black, black and black.
So in this regard the Evolve (Baby Factory) is on sale at the moment for $299, until the 18 January 2014, but is $100 off, so that would make it $399. It has since been “on sale” at $349. The Genesis (Farmers) is priced at $449., but may be included in their commonly held 50% Nursery sales, bringing it down to $224.50. These sales often circulate each 3 months. We’re a little confused as to why it costs so much more, retail price wise, at Farmers. Anyway. Let’s now look at the difference between the 2 aforementioned seats.
The Britax Frontier states the weight limits, as mentioned above and has 9 adjustable height positions, with no-re-thread harness, and adjustable from the front of the seat.
The upper most harness position is measured at 48 cm, and the maximum booster slot is at 54 cm.
The Infa Evolve/Genesis does not offer booster mode, but does offer a rather generous harnessing height to 51 cm. It also offers no re-thread harness and is adjustable from the front of the seat.
So while you get slightly less harnessing use in the frontier, you get less total use in the Evolve, as you cannot use it as a booster, and therefore lose 3 cm of total height use, a difference of height that could result in another 12 months or so use (in booster mode).
Another thing to keep in mind is the installation methods of these seats.
The Infa Secure does not have isofix, or click tight. You’re required to install it with the seat belt, (lap or full seat belt), and under the child’s bottom. The Frontier installs using latch or seat belt via the click-tight system which offers a rather firm install in under 30 seconds – honestly this seat is a flip of a dime to install. Boom it’s done!
Infa – being Australian – love their top tether system, so much so it has got to be used at all times, so your car, and any cars you intend to use the seat in, must have tether points (not cargo clips). The Frontier 90 gives the user the option to use without the top tether where the child is under 29 kg (and using the internal harness), however we recommend it be used at all times.
With regard to total seat use time, the law states a child must be in an approved seat until 7 years of age and 8 years of age where an approved seat is available. However keep in mind to that 10% of 11 and 12 year old still require a booster seat. Even though the law is 7 yrs to use a seat, the majority of children still need a restraint well past this.
All 4 and 5 year old children required a car seat or booster seat
90% of 6, 7, and 8 year olds required booster seats
50% of 9 and 10 year olds
10% of 11 and 12 year olds still required booster seats (Segedin, 2006).
Sam Tormey (2008) states the following,
“The rear seat of the average family car is too deep for almost half of adult women to sit upright and comfortably bend their knees over the edge of the seat, and the seatbelt in the rear seat is unsafe for any person less than 145cm tall. Children do not reach this height until around 11 years old, on average. There are two main concerns with being too small for an adult belt: the lap portion rides across the tummy, not the bony hips, causing abdominal injury in a crash, and the sash portion rides across the neck rather than the chest, causing injury to the neck and throat. Long seat cushions exacerbate these concerns by causing the child or small adult to slump so that their knees can bend at the edge of the seat, causing both parts of the seatbelt to ‘ride up’.” Sydney’s Child August 2008, pg 32. Syndey’s Child publication
And this change should be made only when they pass the “5 Step Test” rather than “turned 7 yrs old”.
The 5 step test will tell if your child is big enough for the adult belt.
1. Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
2. Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
5. Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, your child needs a booster seat to make both the shoulder belt and the lap belt fit right for the best crash protection.Your child will be more comfortable, too!
5 Step Test Adopted SafetyBeltSafe USA, and promoted by Elizabeth Segedin of Starship Childrens’ Hospital, New Zealand.
Here’s a link to our Frontier 90 blog post - http://blog.childrestraints.co.nz/frontier-90/
We’re trying to get hold of an Evolve or Genesis for review purposes. For now, here are some images that we’ve managed to get hold of thanks to our local Baby Factory and Farmers stores.
Model in photos: 5.5 years old, 118 cm, 20 kg.