It only seems like yesterday that I was placing my baby girl in her car seat as a newborn and yet here she is, ready for her next stage car seat.
The boys previous seat had reached the end of its shelf life and was deemed unfit for use, so the little lady was always going to need a brand new seat of her own.
There are loads of laws coming into effect with regards to children travelling in cars and what seats are safe to use. It’s now becoming common knowledge that rear facing seats have been proven to be safer than that of their forward facing counterparts.
This is where the Diono Radian 5 All-In-One seat sets itself apart from the rest. The unique steel frame means the Radian 5 is super strong to resist crash forces and offer the most amount of protection. Metal reinforcements and the best EPP foam combine to provide the ultimate side impact protection, whilst the straight side walls ensure your child stays contained in the seat during a crash.
It is one of the only seats on the market that has been designed from birth to around seven years of age (25 kg) to sit rear facing. This is a major plus point as it allows babies and children to travel in the safest position for as long as possible.
So after reading about this great all rounder, I couldn’t wait to get it installed in my car for Georgie. Now it doesn’t take much for me to get confused with instructions and I’m terrible for not really bothering to look at them! However, when it comes to something a little more technical and important such as a car seat, then I had to read up about it first. For me, the instructions weren’t terribly clear and my best bet was to watch the video demonstrations that Diono provide on their website. This way you can pause it along the way, until you’ve got to grips with it!
I actually installed this seat both ways in my car, to see which would be better. My initial thought was obviously to fix it rear facing, because it’s the safest way for her to travel and the seat prides itself on this feature. Then once I’d fitted it, I thought that it restricted the front passenger seat too much and ummed and ahhed about trying it forward facing. So I did and it was easier to fix this way round. However, when I put Georgie in to try it she was positioned far too upright and her head slumped to the side. So I immediately knew that it wasn’t a viable option for her yet. The rear facing position seats them in a gentle reclined position and looks nice and comfortable, as you’d expect them to be.
Three installations later and I can now say that I am proficient at fixing this car seat. I hadn’t planned to make such a meal of it but all in all, it helped me fathom out all of the fixtures and attachments for fitting both ways.
With the boys old car seat, I never learnt to install it and everytime we needed to swap out seats or put theirs in another car, I could never help as I hadn’t bothered to work it out, nor did I want to. So this time around, my husband left me to it and I worked it out for myself which makes things much easier for when the seat needs moving – which hopefully won’t be for a while!
So what do I love about this car seat?
The fact that it caters for newborns, right through until approximately seven years of age and that it can be rear facing up until that age too. I really didn’t want another boring black seat, so I was pleased that there was a choice of colours available with the Radian 5. I opted for the Lagoon online colour, which is a lovely teal green shade and ideal for both boys and girls.
The fabric is lovely and soft and it’s super comfy with memory foam and lots of padding around the sides (as an insert).
It has a five point harness which is added peace of mind that your child will stay secured during a car journey, should they be prone to undoing their seatbelt.
The base is smaller than most regular seats and it’s slimmer in height, so it takes up less room on the seat. Which is crucial when you have three children to squeeze across the back seats.
The covers are fully removable for washing and the seat folds flat for when it might need removing.
As it’s made of steel it feels sturdy and because it’s quite weighty, this is the reason that it needs to be fixed using the seatbelt and anchor points – which are stronger than iso-fix bases anyway (see photos below). They look daunting to fix but in actual fact, it’s quite straight forward once you have worked out what needs to go where.
What’s maybe not so great?
It’s really heavy and not so easy to move around from car to car. It’s definitely a seat that you want to be keeping in place as much as possible.
When fixed in the rear facing position, it takes up a fair bit of space behind the front passenger seat because it’s reclined, meaning that there is less space in the front seat, leaving that seat quite upright. I wouldn’t want to be a passenger for a long journey sat in this seat and luckily it’s usually just me and the kids in my car. You can however, purchase an angle adjuster to bring the seat more upright and allow more room in the front, but I feel this might make the car seat too upright.
My seven year old would not be comfortable seated in the reclining position as his legs would be all scrunched up and my four year old sat in quite happily but again would prefer his legs to be outstretched.
The car seat is made extremely well and is much sturdier than our old, well known brand that we had before. Our daughter is very comfortable in it and it often induces sleep fairly quickly! The newborn head support is perfect for adapting around your brand new baby but for this stage where Georgie isn’t quite big enough to reach the top head support, it lacks a little for head support, although her head just reaches the bottom of it. The newborn support is too small and tilts her head forwards. It would be much better if the head support could be lowered a touch more for slightly smaller toddlers.
As the seat takes up a fair bit of room in our car in the rear facing position, it’s not so practical for when we have a car full and I don’t think we could manage a long journey with it in place. For that reason the seat will be more beneficial for us in the front facing position in a few months time and it will be great for space saving with three seats to cram in the back!
You pay for quality with this seat and it’s great that it’s so functional from birth upwards and has the harness too. The only drawback for us is the amount of space it takes up in our car. I can’t fault it otherwise.
Here is the video that I followed to install the seat, which made the process much easier than looking at the written instructions, which I just couldn’t work out for the life of me. Once you’ve got your head around it, it’s more simple than you think.
Nb. We were sent the Radian 5 for the purpose of this review, but all views and opinions remain entirely our own.