Maxi Cosi Opal Car Seat Review

In general you have 2 choices of car seat styles for new born babies, a rearward facing one (which will last 9-12mths), or a forward facing seat that will last until the baby is 18kg or thereabouts. The advice from the government and most motoring organisations is to use a rearward facing seat while the baby is small as this protects their necks – clearly the downside of this is that the seat won’t last for as long and you’ll need at least 2 seats for your child. This is precisely the issue that Maxi Cosi are trying to address with the Opal which is able to switch between rearward and forward facing as your child grows. Nifty eh? But what’s it like in reality?

Well we actually have 2 car seats, this one and a traditional rearward facing. This made for quite an interesting test process because it enabled us to do a comparison between the 2 different styles of seats. We’d chosen the other simply because we were buying, and it was the cheapest seat that came with a base that is left in the car. The Opal is left in the car at all times so we never looked at it until LittleStuff asked us to review…

The Opal has lots of adjustment which enable you to get the chair to be the perfect fit; you can move the headrest up and down, there is a knob on the front which when twisted widens or narrows the seat itself and the seat belt straps are all fully adjustable. It also has very good padding and a removable insert used just while the baby is a newborn. All in all very impressive. The lady of the manor also noted that she liked the hooks on the side of the seat to hold the straps as you move your baby in and out.

We also liked the variety of colours that the seat comes in, particularly as it enabled us to pick one that matched our car (as does our Phil and Teds pushchair, but that’s a different story). Strapping it into the car was relatively simple, and there’s a nice illustrated guide stuck to the side of the seat for the men who will obviously not read the instruction manual.

On the downside the way that the car seat belt attaches to the seat means that you have to reach over or under the strap to get your baby in. Not always the easiest thing, especially if you are wrestling a very angry baby. Also, unlike most traditional rear facing seats, it doesn’t have any sort of sun blind built in – something we hadn’t really thought about until the recent balmy weather (you know, that one day of sun). So we ended up shutting a muslin into the window as a makeshift blind.

The final point is that the car seat stays in the car… this is both Good and Bad. It means you only have to fit it in the car once, which can never be a bad thing. But unlike the other seat you can’t lift your baby out of the car in the seat. So you run the risk of waking a sleeping baby and most likely spending the next 30 minutes soothing them while they scream (or is that just me?).

I asked Matilda what she thought of the Opal and she had a little dribble and fell asleep. Now I’m no expert in talking baby but I think that’s good. She certainly slept well while in it, and looked quite cosy.

If we’d seen the Maxi Cosi Opal when we were looking to buy a seat we would have seriously considered buying it. We don’t have a travel system pushchair so weren’t constrained by the type of car seat, and the fact that this seat can be used for much longer is in my mind a BIG selling point. But what I think it really boils down to is a trade off between having a seat you can use for more than a year vs. being able to remove the seat from the car with the baby in it (and using as part of a travel system if you desire). At the moment we use both seats, but once Matilda is a bit larger we’ll stick with the Opal only, and save the Cheap Seat for the next baby!

Visit the Maxi Cosi web site and read more about the Opal (and Maxi-Cosi’s range of car seats).

Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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